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What to Do About Intimate Partner Violence: Let's Talk About It

 

Recently we have been working to bring awareness to dating violence and sexual assault prevention. Most people don’t know how terribly common sexual assault is, or what to do about it.

Intimate partner violence may be even more prevalent than sexual assault. Reports show that 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual assault. But nearly 1 in 4 women have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner, says the National Domestic Violence Hotline. One in 3 women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

Stopping intimate partner violence presents its own set of challenges. Domestic violence often involves a co-dependent relationship and two people with histories of trauma.

But it only takes one well-informed, well-prepared adult in the lives of victims to make the difference between someone staying trapped, and getting help.

No Typical Profile

Abusers and victims come from all social groups, ethnic groups and professions. Most victims are female between 18-24, but victims also include men.

Domestic violence is about power. Any physical violence in a relationship is harmful and unhealthy. It can happen when one person is having trouble managing their own stress, and aims to cope by controlling their partner through force and fear. The offender uses threats and actual physical or emotional harm to exert control.

Victims often feel responsible for the emotions of their partner. A victim may think that the violence is ‘not his fault’ or ‘he didn’t mean it’. They endure abuse, hoping that their partner will change. Victims often feel powerless, unable to stand up for themselves, hopeless, worthless, and beyond help. None of this is true.

Many couples who experience intimate partner violence witnessed violent relationships as children. It may be hard for either person to imagine a relationship working another way.

What Needs to Change; Recommended Treatment

On average, it takes a victim seven times to leave a relationship that remains abusive, before moving on for good. Why does this happen?

Most people — including the victim —

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Preventing intimate partner violence begins and ends with parenting.  Children raised by parents who engaged in parenting behaviors and practices generally recognized as supporting their healthy development rarely grow into adults who commit ipv.  Similarly, those same fortunate children rarely grow into adults who form relationships with abusers.

Intimate partner violence will disappear if we start now with a new kind of parenting education...one that reaches everyone, everywhere, all the time.

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